A couple of weeks ago, the water polo boys hopped on the ‘banter’ bus and headed to Bristol’s pool.
It not only has a reputation for being very yellow, but also for being the field of battle for a water polo team that has always ranked in the top 5 in the UK.
In fact, Imperial’s Men’s team had never won against Bristol.
Our luck was no different that day and, after a very close match, we lost 10-9.
We knew we could beat them.
And this weekend was our best chance.
On Saturday, we received them in our temple, Queen Elizabeth’s School Swimming Pool in High Barnet, nicknamed the home of Water Polo.
Bristol used all their intimidation techniques: got to the pool half an hour early, did their synchronized-high-knees warm-up and slapped each other very hard before diving into the pool.
Those tricks wouldn’t work on us.
We knew that despite their perfectly matching trunks, their nice water bottles and their glucose sachets; we were better than them and were ready to show it.
The match starts.
Will Moore receives the ball and with his magical left hand scores an amazing goal straight over the goalkeeper’s head.
Even though this happened within the first two minutes, he had to sub himself out, completely out of breath after a wild night with the former ICSMWP president.
Our latest signing, Joe Ortiz, scored another one and the narrator one more after a great pass from our keeper, Joe Ireland.
3-0 up and things were not looking good for Bristol.
Somehow we got distracted and, all of a sudden, we were losing 6-7.
It wasn’t the time to give up.
Suzy to Sasha, Sasha to Suzy, tiki-taka, joga bonito.
Suzy panicked for a second there thinking that he wasn’t wearing a hat and that his baldness would be finally revealed, but then he remembered that in water polo we wear hats, all calm.
Ball to Sam Hanrahan on the counter attack (duh, of course he’s on the counterattack, he swims 50m in 24s).
Sam looks to the middle and witnesses something incredible.
Our other centre-forward, Laszlo Gero, a Hungarian superstar who weighs more than the whole team combined, was on the counter too!
Ball goes to Laszlo who lobs the keeper with perfect technique scoring the equaliser.
Later that day, Laszlo confessed that at the time he didn’t realise that he was swimming very quickly, he thought that he was in Metric chasing a girl.
With the match finely poised, we resorted to our special tactics.
In defence, our centre-backs Leo Pashov and TJ wouldn’t let their pit player score and MASSIVE TOBIAS would drown any opponent that dared to look at the goal.
In attack, it was all about man-ups.
Someone shouted “Frosties!” and, like a perfectly oiled machine, we all knew what to do and another goal came.
One goal up and another man up.
Someone shouted “Jacks!” and again, another goal.
Two up, one minute to go.
However, Bristol wouldn’t make things easy for us, with some extra energy from their glucose pouches, they scored a cheeky backshot and they were back to within 1 goal, 9-8.
17 seconds to the end of the match, tensions building.
We had the ball.
Bristol desperately tried to force a penalty, hoping to get possession after a potential miss.
However, it appears they had failed to read an up-to-date rule book before the game; the rules had been changed a few years ago and we could choose to simply keep playing. Unlucky.
We kept the ball till the end and, for the first time in history, the Imperial men’s team beat Bristol!
There were lots of tears, but of course, everyone used the high percentage of chlorine as an excuse…
Big shoutout to our coach, Adam Walzer, who made this possible after years of hard work.